Everything to Know about The Santa Express Train

by | Jan 13, 2024 | Colorado | 0 comments

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We rode the Santa Express train for the first time last Christmas season. It was such a magical journey and our two year old loved it. This ride will definitely become a yearly tradition for our family druing the holiday season. The train ride itself travels from the Canyon City train station and travels through the Royal Gorge. The whole train is decorated in lights and the front train car is decorated on the outside as well. The entire staff on the train is in costume and there are lots of “elves” on board that provide entertainment for the kids throughout the train ride.

Where to Buy Tickets:

Tickets for the train ride can be purchased online on their website here. Tickets are not cheap but it was definitely worth it. We went during the week so it was not very busy but I am sure that some of the rides book up the closer you get to Christmas Eve. We went the week before Christmas and had no problem booking tickets.

There are also 4 rides per day so you can choose which time works best for you. I personally loved going on the 4:00pm train ride because it is still light out when you leave the train station so you can see the North Pole and Santa when you arrive there but then it is dark on the way back so the lights really stand out at the North Pole when you pass by it again. It is also a great time to go with young children so you don’t get back too late.

When You Arrive at the Train Station:

The train station is very easy to find and there is plenty of parking avalible. After you park you can go inside the station and pick up your tickets. The train usually starts boarding about a half hour early so if you get there early you can board early and take some pictures outside as well. It is recommended that you arrive 1 hour before your scheduled departure so you don’t miss the train. They leave promptly and will not wait for people who show up late. We arrived about 45 minutes early and had plenty of time to get our tickets and take some pictures before departure.

The Experience:

After you board the train, you will be greeted by several different elves or Santa’s helpers, They will offer you hot cocoa and cookies if you would like. This is the food and beverage that is included with your ticket. There are also drinks and some snacks available for purchase if you are seated in coach class (these are the tickets that we purchased). You can also buy upgraded tickets that include dinner and drinks if you would like. You can visit their website for more information about the different tickets and prices.

After the train departs the station, the elves will come around with activities, songs and games for the children to participate in. After about a half hour, the train will arrive at the North Pole to pick up Santa and a few of his elves. You can even see Santa waving from the outside before he boards the train. Once you pick up Santa, you ride the train for about another half hour to the bottom of the Royal Gorge.

During this time, Santa comes around to talk with each child and give them a special gift (one of the bells from his reindeer). Once you arrive at the Royal Gorge, the train stops for awhile and you can go to one of the open train cars and take in the beautiful views of the Royal Gorge. Be sure to bring a hat, coat and gloves if you want to go outside to the open car as it can be a bit chilly.

After parking at the Royal Gorge for awhile, the train heads back through the north pole again to drop off Santa. This is why I recommend going in the evening because on the way back it was very dark and the North Pole was lit up with lots of Christmas lights. It was so magical and our two year old loved it. 

Overall, I would 100% recommend this experience for families with little kids. It is so unique as it is an actual train ride and they do an amazing job of making the ride so magical.

Have you ever ridden the Santa Express?? What are you thoughts about the experience?